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What type of finish for cedar?

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  • What type of finish for cedar?

    Making a couple of tables for the wife to put on the patio. What type of finish should I put on cedar?

  • #2
    Re: What type of finish for cedar?

    Linseed oil nothing more as cedar holds up real well the elements.
    9/11/01, never forget.

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    • #3
      Re: What type of finish for cedar?

      How well does cedar take a exterior stain like a semi-transparent deck stain?
      "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
      John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

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      • #4
        Re: What type of finish for cedar?

        Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
        How well does cedar take a exterior stain like a semi-transparent deck stain?
        I made a pair of child-sized picnic tables using red cedar, and used Cabot's honey-toned semi-transparent, "Australian timber oil" based stain on the whole thing. Cedar soaks it up quite happily and looks great. Over time the wood will gray, but the tone in the stain keeps it looking nice.

        The first table has now gone two full seasons (2x summer, 2x winter) and it is juuuust showing a bit of 'wear' on the table-top. A quick scuff sanding and respray should do it for another 2 years. The one I just made last summer still looks brand new (I put it in storage for this past winter).

        A more elaborate answer to your question would be this:
        For outdoor furniture what do you want: An easier maintenance finish, or a longer last finish?

        If you only use an oil-based stain, semi-transparent or not, you can reapply very easily, but it will be required at least every two years. Possibly every year depending on where you live / weather conditions.

        If you go through the extra efforts of putting clear coats (e.g. exterior poly (AKAK spar varnish)), then it will likely last 3-4 years, but you will have to completely strip it in order to do any real quality reapplication. You can do spot touch-ups but it won't be unnoticeable and not as protective.

        Cedar is great for outdoors because it is naturally rot & insect resistant. The oil / stain just helps repel water, and adds some color. Using a sealing varnish actually locks in the natural characteristics of the cedar and you're relying solely on the poly.

        Hope that helps.

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